Abstract: The aim of this qualitative research study, using a phenomenological approach was so explore the lived experience of an individual who practices mindfulness meditation focusing upon the meaning of the experience on their psychological wellbeing. My interest in mindfulness has stemmed from reading, observation, attending workshops and participating in the practice of mindfulness meditation. Through noticing the positive incremental changes it can bring to mind, body and spirit that are inextricably linked this aligns with integrative psychotherapeutic practice.
This study was based on the participation of a co-researcher examining one person’s lived experience of mindfulness meditation practice in supporting their emotional wellbeing in their life. The data was used to explore the experience and impact of mindfulness practice on the participant. The co-researcher has been practicing mindfulness for a significant part of her life. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis produced several emerging themes which encompassed: kindness, space, mantra, breathing, yoga, being in the moment, being centred, being a friend and compassion. The co-researcher spoke with enthusiasm, reflecting the strength of the impact of mindfulness upon her daily life. Limitations are considered along with clinical application to psychotherapy practice and suggestions for future research. The findings from this research reinforce the outcomes of previous research related to mindfulness and indicate that mindfulness is beneficial in improving the health and psychological well-being of individuals and is significant to psychotherapy practice.
I would like to thank my co-researcher who gave consent to participate in this project and for her collaboration for whom I am very grateful too. Along with my partner and daughter for their support in motivating me to complete this assignment .
Introduction Page 5
Literature Review Pages 6-11
Method Pages 12-26
Discussion Pages 26-28
Conclusion Pages 28-29
REFERENCES Pages 30-31
Appendix 1 – Participant Interview Protocol Form
Appendix 2 – Participant Consent Form
Appendix 3 – Recording Contract
Appendix 4 – Transcript
My interest in mindfulness has initially stemmed from reading, observing, attending workshops and participating in the practice of mindfulness meditation. Through noticing the positive incremental changes it can bring to mind, body and spirit are inextricably linked, aligns with the concept of psychotherapeutic practice.
The contribution of mindfulness to psychotherapy practice has gained interested over the years and in particular the positive impact it can have. Year on year millions of people are affected negatively by episodes of mental health issues, the NHS reports that one in four are impacted by a mental illness. In the last 10 years the number of dispensed anti-depressant prescriptions has increased significantly. The therapeutic value of mindfulness cannot be under estimated in alleviating the most prevalent of mental health issues these are general anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression. It is this curiosity in finding alternatives to the management and alleviating these conditions other than prescribed medication or self-medication, which has increased my interest along with the notion that the concept of mindfulness appears mysterious in its profound impact in thinking, feeling and behaving on individuals. I am intrigued by mindfulness that although basic in its practice appears highly sophisticated in its physiological and psychological influence on the body. It has been around for thousands of years originating from eastern culture that has gathered momentum in the last twenty years or so. It is with these questions in mind that I wished to explore this phenomenon further, particularly how does mindfulness work? What occurs to effect positive change in mental health well-being? How does this influence psychotherapy practice? These were the overarching aims I wished to discover in undertaking this project.
The literature review was conducted looking at a wide variety of sources including computer search, databases and manual search. Initially focusing on a broad search on mindfulness and then honing down to specific research both quantitative and qualitative and articles related to the subject matter and its affiliation with psychotherapy. The literature I have presented in the review highlights the benefits of mindfulness psychologically and physiologically. The rationale for this was underpinned by Van der Kolk (2015) where he sheds insight upon trauma and the consequence of resulting negative impact of stress that causes damaging physiological changes to body and brain, which can continue throughout life disposing us physical illness and how mindfulness meditation can positively influence self-regulation of emotion.
The emergence of mindfulness over the last 17 years has accelerated as a result of an increased amount of empirical studies demonstrating the positive impact to both mind and body (figure 1). The chart below illustrates this increasing interest from academic and scientific communities with the number of publications increasing year on year from 2006.
(Figure 1 – Mindfulness Journal publications by year, 1980-2017 – American mindfulness Research Association, 2018)
The phenomenon of mindfulness has much in common with psychotherapy. It originates from Buddhist philosophy, Chamber and Maris (2010) put forward that the experience of mindfulness is universal and found in almost all religious and spiritual and cultural traditions. The therapeutic effects of mindfulness are significant to the work of psychotherapy in that the process provides an open door to the client to develop and to be aware of the moment-to-moment subjective experience, the process of mindfulness is likely to have a significant aspect for processing disturbing emotional experience (Zvelc, 2012). As human beings we all experience periods of stress, irritation unhappiness and low mood. In attempting to understand and solve what makes us unhappy negative thoughts, patterns and worry about the future can arise. The process can trigger our inner critic/dialogue. From a transactional analysis perspective this aligns with Berne’s ‘critical parent’. With these internal dialogues, the behaviours and emotions which accompany them are out of awareness, self-reinforcing suppressing the individuals contact with self and others (Moursund and Erskine, 2004). Individuals are not conscious of the cyclical nature of the negative self talk or the painful impact it has on themselves, others or their wider environment from the unconscious behaviour as a direct consequence of these internal dialogues (Seigal, 2013).
The term mindfulness and meditation appear to inter-twined. Goleman and Davidson (2017) assert the term is used as a substitute by scientists for all types of meditation. The definition of ‘mindfulness’ has been in the English language for centuries. It originates from the term Sati” of the Pali language; the term has been translated in several different terms, such as awareness, attention and it appears there is not an equivalent word for sati in English (Goldman and Davidson, 2017). The practice of mindfulness has been defined by Hölzel et al (2011) as being non judgmental experience in the present moment, that produces positive effects on well-being reducing stress-related symptoms. An interesting perspective put forward by Hayes and Shenk (2004) is that mindfulness is ‘a pre-scientific concept, and it is unlikely that any one definition will allow it to enter into scientific discourse unambiguously’ (p.253)
There were several proponents of bringing mindfulness into the western culture from the east. Most significant has been Jon Kabat-Zinn a medical professor with an interest in the health benefits of mindfulness, and has been significant in demonstrating the scientific benefits of mindfulness.
Kabat-Zinn studied with a variety of Buddhist teachers, including Thich Nhat Hanh, and drawing from them a wide variety of meditation techniques. Through investigation Kabat-Zinn noticed that individuals appeared to derive psychological and physical benefits from significant periods focusing their attention to the present, from these studies Kabat-Zinn went on to develop the mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) program where the spiritual element has been removed (Goleman and Davidson, (2017).
Generally mindfulness practice comprises of the measured ability to focus attention on specific physical sensations and environmental stimuli, seeking to bring back attention with the present moment whether the mind wonders or not. This focused engagement with what is going on in the present moment is coupled with an attitude of acceptance and openness, enabling thoughts and emotions to ebb and flow without cognitive judgment. The focusing of attention on breathing while keeping nonjudgmental awareness of thoughts perspective and noticing sensations within the body is the most frequent activity adopted in mindfulness training. A difference can be distinguished between the two main types of mindfulness practice: formal and informal. Informal practice involves promoting awareness of being. Formal practice involves a sustained period of time on a focused activity that is part of a pre-determined routine. It is a type of awareness that involves being completely conscious of what is happening in the present experience, moment by moment; attending to thoughts, emotions and sensations as they arise and without judgement (Christopher and Marks, 2010). The concept also refers to the practice of ‘intentionally cultivating awareness and acceptance in each moment.” This is usually through a meditative and contemplative practice. Kabat-Zinn (2003) describes that mindfulness is based on cultivating awareness with the objective of enabling people to live in ‘each moment of their lives – even the painful ones as fully as possible’ (Kabat Zinn,p260, 2003). Rothchild (2006) affirms that mindfulness along with body awareness is the best advantage in managing counter-transference through the client and the therapist becoming aware of internal experiences including physiological changes such as breathing, heart rate, movement and psychologically emotion and thoughts. It is about ‘paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally to the unfolding of experience moment to moment’ (Kabat Zinn, 2003p. 145). Through this process the individual becomes aware of their internal experience without attempting to suppress or avoid (Zvelc; Cernetic and Kosak, 2011). This process can enable a healing relational experience, through the observation of the experience where the individual can observe their critical thoughts, physical sensations behaviours and emotions instead of relating to them they can observe, become aware and accept them instead of wanting to avoid them (Zvelc; Cernetic and Kosak, 2011). By being fully present in relationships and becoming aware of transaction with others is essential Zvelc (2012) suggests that through inviting the client into a ‘state of awareness and acceptance of their internal experience’ (Zvelc, 2012 p.44) is the essence of mindfulness and expresses that ‘by inviting clients into a mindful processing mode it reverse the cycle of avoidance of inner experience (Zvelc, 2012 p46). Within psychotherapy, attunement is a two fold process of being aware of the other persons feelings, needs and sensations and to convey that awareness to the other person (Erskine, Moursund and Trautman ;1999). It is through the relational needs of inquiry, attunement and involvement that provide the therapeutic model where the client is invited to become mindful of their experience (Zvelc, 2012). This process according to Zvelc (2012) provides the basic grounding for the individual to process dissociated and unresolved experiences. Thereby promoting awareness of script patterns, transactions, ego states game enactments (Zvelc, Cernetic and Kosak, 2011;Verney, 2009). The goal of transactional analysis treatment is ‘attainment of autonomy’ which Zvelc, Cernetic and Kosak (2011) assert occur in the capability of intimacy, spontaneity and awareness. According to Christopher and Marks (2010) mindfulness practices are a positive way in addressing compassion fatigue, self-care, preventing burnout and vicarious trauma.
In a meta-analysis study conducted by Fox et al; (2014) reviewing the brain structure of 300 meditation practitioners they found there were eight brain regions which consistently altered in meditators which were sensory cortices and insula, memory consolidation as key to meta-awareness, body awareness and reconsolidation, self and emotion and communication; although they acknowledge limitations to their study in the methodology and publication bias it does influence other studies. Hasenkamp and Barsalou (2012), hold with Fox et al (2014) findings expressing that the length of time an individual practices meditation is related with activity and connectivity changes in the brain. These findings signify that practice can lead to brain changes and concur with Siegal (2007) who also notes that with regular practice there are changes in the pre-frontal area which is connected to the regulation of body systems including attuning to others, showing insight and empathy (Siegel, 2007).
From the literature mindfulness appears to have significant positive impact Hofman et al., (2010) examined the efficacy of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression concluded that mindfulness-based therapy is a positive intervention for treating anxiety and mood issues in clinical populations. Subsequently Koury et al., (2013) conducted a meta-analysis examining mindfulness based therapy and concluded that mindfulness based interventions are an effective treatment for a variety of psychological problems, and is especially effective for reducing anxiety, depression, and stress. However a more recent meta-analysis conducted for the United States Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Mindfulness programs found that although mindfulness programs reduce multiple negative aspects of psychological stress, study designs needed to be stronger to determine the effects of meditation programs in improving the positive dimensions of mental health as well as stress-related behavioural outcomes (Goyal et al 2014).
There are other benefits to the practice of mindfulness. In a study undertaken by Epel, Blackburn et al (2004) it appears that our thoughts and those thoughts that are particularly stressful which encompass worry about future events or ruminating about the past have been shown to influence chromosomes. Their study demonstrated that individuals who are stressed over an extended period of time negatively influence chromosomes. This is has been supported in a more recent study conducted by Carlson et al (2014)
The qualitative phenomenological-research paradigm is the preferred research method to inquire about the subjective experience of an individual(s) who have lived experiences in the phenomenon under investigation (Moustakas, 1994). The philosopher, Edmund Husserl created phenomenology as a school of thought. He put forward that it was essential to examine the core of experience, because it was in the experience that our emotions, actions and perceptions of things and relationships, where the authentic understanding could be obtained through phenomenological inquiry to describe the essence of everyday experience. It is a philosophical discipline that focuses on human experience. The basic idea of phenomenology is to understand the individual what he is doing, and how he feels about it.” (Lubisi, 2008)
The research was undertaken in partnership with a woman, who shared with me her experiences of mindfulness practice and how the practice had influenced her emotional wellbeing. To increase my understanding of her experience I also inquired about how the practice had influenced her physical wellbeing. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to understand the perceived impact mindfulness meditation on the co-researcher’s emotional wellbeing.
It is accepted that as a researcher engaged in phenomenological research there will be subjectivity (Finlay, 2009). When undertaking the interview I was aware of the importance of ‘bracketing’ my previous knowledge, understanding and assumptions of the area of study and to ‘embrace’ the inter-subjective experience between the researcher and co-researcher.
Choice of co-researcher
I advertised for a co-researcher at a local yoga class following proposal acceptance. Prior to the interview, I met with the co-researcher who has been given a pseudonym and will be known as Jane this is to maintain anonymity and confidentiality. To assist with the research project and following explanation and discussion she consented to participate. The interview was conducted in the co-researcher’s home, this was agreed prior to the interview. An alterative (neutral venue) was discussed via telephone prior to the interview. Upon exploration with Jane she expressed that it would be more conducive for her to undertake the interview in her own home. We agreed a mutual convenient time was at the end of a working day for both us.
Jane is a divorced single mature woman in her late 60s who originates from Greater Manchester. She is a mother and grandmother She has is an alternative practitioner her main therapy is Reiki. We did not know each other prior to the interview.
Prior to the interview taking place the following was covered:
Informed consent. The research overview was given to Jane and contained material that outlined the procedures, the invitation to partake in a voluntary study, and consent forms (appendices 1-3). There was an opportunity for Jane to ask clarifying questions and complete the participant-information sheet at the pre-interview meeting. This is in accordance with MIP Guidelines for Research in Psychotherapy and ERSC guidelines. This was to ensure that the co-researcher is able to give informed consent underpinned by the ESRC (http://www.ethicsguidebook.ac.uk/consent-72). To prepare Jane and minimise any risk of harm to her I met with her prior to the interview and provided her with an overview and participant-consent form included a brief but concise overview of the research, the consent form will include my contact information with contact telephone number(s) The rationale for this process was to ensure the co-researcher was fully informed and this is in accordance with the ESRC who state ‘Research subjects must be informed fully about the purpose, methods and intended possible uses of the research, what their participation in the research entails and what risks, if any, are involved. (ESRC, http://www.ethicsguidebook.ac.uk)
Confidentiality. I also explained that only designated MIP tutors (i.e. Supervisor/makers) will review the content material of the project and if it the content was to be disseminated elsewhere then I would at that time discuss with her the sharing of information. The consent form included a section covering, dissemination, which outlined potential future uses of the interview data, including conference presentations, and articles. To protect the confidentiality of the participant, I have not included names on the transcript. Transcripts are in my possession, and transcription file is password protected. In addition, digital audio recording will be in my possession and password protected in accordance with data protection. The consent forms and participant-information sheet will remain in secure storage for the period of completion of the research period and is available to MIP for assessment of the module after which time they will be destroyed.
Right to withdraw. I explained to Jane that as a co-researcher she has the right to withdraw from the research at anytime. Should this occur I will notify my supervisor and discontinue all research activities which involved her participation in the study. Prior to submission I clarified this with Jane and she did not wish to withdraw from the student ‘Research participants must participate in a voluntary way, free from any coercion.’ (ERCP)
Right to access. Jane has read the verbatim transcript and made amendments which are indicated on the transcription and can read the full project on completion at any time.
Need for a break. It was explained prior to the start of the interview that if Jane needed a break she would be able to interrupt the interview at any time .
Memories. I explained to Jane that through the process of phenomenological enquiry it is possible that some feelings may be invoked which might be uncomfortable and that she may want to discuss post-interview. A de-brief was discussed and that was offered immediately post-interview to provide the opportunity for us as researcher/co-researcher to discuss the experience and how the experience was for the co-researcher and if any issues arose which the co-researcher wished to explore immediately after the interview.
Post interview – I provided 2 telephone call contacts the first one week after the interview and subsequent call three weeks later this was to provide a further opportunity to discuss any impact the interview may have upon her. No issues arose from the telephone discussions. Jane was invited to make contact if needed outside the agreed time frames should anything arise. I had contact prior to submission to check with transcription with Jane and this provided an opportunity to check if she needed any support, no issues were identified.
Jane confirmed she understood the above and in agreement with all of the above prior to signing the consent form (Appendices 1-3)
My focus of the interview was to understand how does the individual perceive and describe their experiences of the impact of mindfulness meditation on their emotional wellbeing. This was underpinned by the following pre-planned questions:
- How would you describe mindfulness meditation?
- How did you first learn about mindfulness mediation?
- What motivated you to pursue mindfulness practice?
- What is your experience of mindfulness meditation upon your emotional wellbeing?
- What motivates you to continue mindfulness meditation?
- What else would you like to share with me as it relates to your mindfulness meditation practice?
These questions were given to Jane prior to the interview taking place. For the enquiry to be effective there are no expectations that the co-researcher would arrive at a particular set goal or insight this is in alignment with Erskine’s relational model (Erskine et al 1999)
Data was analysed adopting the methodology developed by Wetz (1983) which involves six steps:
- Aiming to empathise.
- Taking time to dwell.
- Turning towards meanings
- Creating themes
- Illustrating interpretations.
The recruitment strategy to engage the co-researcher was through their affiliation with a local yoga group. The co-researcher is engaged in regular mindfulness meditation practice that she has been practising for several decades. Her background is an alternative therapist and yoga practitioner.
The purpose of this study was to understand the perceived impact mindfulness meditation on an individual who is engaged in regular mindfulness meditation practice. The following central research questions associated with this inquiry were:
- a) How does the individual perceive and describe their experiences of the impact of mindfulness meditation on their emotional wellbeing?
I am going to use Qualitative Research and a phenomenological enquiry of one person’s lived experience of mindfulness meditation practice.
The aim was to explore an individuals lived experience, the data was analysed with Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) (Smith,1996) – an idiographic, qualitative method that explores participants’ perspectives.
A frequent research method which is adopted in a variety of qualitative research methodologies is the in-depth interview has been the open and deep interview, carried out in a dialogical manner (Åkerlind 2005; Booth 1997) – interviewing of individuals as research participants. This data gathering technique afforded the researcher data for transcript analysis.
Interviews are a very common, and useful research method in various qualitative research methodologies. I chose a face-to-face interview, carried out in a dialogical manner, recording the interviewee’s responses. The format of the interview I chose was a semi-structured approach i.e. structured questions without response codes (Bowling, 1997). The advantages of this data gathering technique allows the interviewer to probe, clarify any for any misinterpretations or ambiguities (Bowling, 1997). Within my interview there were several occasions where I needed to do this for example at , [065-74].
Once Jane had given her ethical approval and consented to the audio recording. I audio-recorded the session and self-transcribed later through a staged process initially transcribing verbatim by hand then listening again to the recording checking through the initial transcript for errors and omissions to ensure the accuracy of the transcription and to become familiar with the material making corrections and subsequently typed up. This process was tedious however I found it to be beneficial as it began the data analysis process. It provided new thoughts and I was able to identify some themes. I am aware of the use of dictation/speech recognition software for this process however Wolcott (1999) points out at its best it is only 95% accurate . There were some words that I was unable to decipher this was due to variables in accent and this is indicated in the transcription. The session lasted about 55 minutes.
I chose a semi-structured interview whereby I prepared a set of prepared questions prior to the interview.
The next stage involved reviewing the data. Within phenomenological research there are several methods of analysing the data. I selected the invariant horizon method which directs to the distinct qualities of an experience, those which jump out from the text (Moustakas, 1994). The data was categorized looking at Jane’s use of language, frequency of words past, present and future tense in verbs. I also looked transitions between and their frequency in the text and affect within the transcription. Thematic analysis provides the opportunity to identify significant concepts and subtle differences in meaning yet as Finlay and Madill (2009) point out it can also close off other line of approach. From reviewing the transcript many times and annotating on the script several themes emerges from the narrative this analysis was based on word frequency: kind/kindness(17), space(13), mantra(13) breath/breathing(11), yoga(9), centre(7), friend(7) compassion/compassionate (5). I also looked at phrases which had themes emerging these were:
Being in the moment,
Being a friend,
Watching going beyond thought
Changing old thought patterns
Observing the self.
This process enabled me to identify the significant, relevant and invariant meanings that highlighted the subjective experience of which I then clustered into five themes as follows:
- Changing thoughts and habits
- Being present
- Space in self and between others
Changing thoughts and habits
Jane refers to the practice of mindfulness and its impact practice …it makes me very happy its natural and its very reassuring knowing you can take time out anytime,
have included particular aspects of Jane’s narrative that explain how the practice of mindfulness has influenced change within her for me it’s a practice changing old habit patterns and this practice of observation over many years has lead me to a place of contentment. I have refined my way of thinking and being, things that would have disturbed me at one time I tend to be able to let go very quickly of them, very quickly and move on to the next. (008). This element expresses that through mindful awareness a healing element has occurred.
Well say just you’ve made er a mistake and er you’re going to beat yourself up for that mistake you know for days, weeks on end and I feel you know being compassionate towards yourself you can let that thing go, you’ve recognised it, your going to do better next time should er same exercise came up and whilst you’re busy worrying about things and your ego taken over and you’re giving yourself all this attention you could quite easily you know, think you could quite easily say I’ll put this away, I’ll put this in a box or I’ll put it on a shelf until another time and then I’ll review it again or you might just let it go because there are so many other things you could be doing with your time, you know your thoughts. (014)
The narrative reveals that the practice has had a significant impact on Jane’s psychological development in relation to her coping mechanisms and her internal world. She refers to refined my way of thinking and being, things that would have disturbed me at one time which is significant as this infers how she thought in the past and her ability to cope with situations and how now she made a re-decision in changing her script and now has a different perspective in her thinking . Jane alludes to this in making reference to an earlier part of her life …. I used to worry a lot and I think that is being very mindful, as a child I’d worry if [?] about this , about that you know torment myself really… (126). During a difficult time in her life when she was ill she referred to how she had changed old thought patterns ……I worked through it but it changed me completely [pause] old habit patterns, especially eating patterns er, things like this, changes your mental attitude, and I did work through it, …. I just thought you know you can just put things into er reverse… (088) this reference is quite poignant in that Jane is inferring the challenge she was experiencing at the time and that had the resources to cope with managing her illness. It appears that her experience of mindfulness has changed her relationship with unpleasant thoughts and that she is able to stabilise her emotions and her ability to function in a time of crisis and proving her ability to self-regulate her emotions. Jane talks about the practice of mantra and its healing quality shifting awareness….easing yourself out of one place to another… and the benefit of doing the practice with other people, she uses the word wonderful  and goes to say its …very head clearing, very helpful. This experience emphasises transformation and where Erskine (1988) refers to the full neopsychic (current mind) ‘the capacity of the adult ego to integrate values , process information, respond to emotions and sensations, and be creative and contactful’ (Erskine 1988, p87). Another aspect of Jane’s narrative that resonated was the concept of physis which Berne (1972) expressed as growth, inner growth and self awareness, ‘the aware person is alive because he knows how he feels, where he is and when it is’ (Berne, 1964 pp159-160).
Jane refers on several occasions to being present, this aligns with being in the adult ego state being self aware and in the moment with whatever is going on. Jane describes what the concept of being present means for her just being in the moment, watching, observing yourself, not being attached to yourself, that you’re observing every second but just step back and observe an watching going beyond thought, you know that in a still moment you can just drift. You could be having a cup of tea or you’re taking that five minutes out just to be aware of the place where you are, sitting, the surroundings the ambience of the room or if you are in the garden and extending your [..?] just taking everything in and er you know that takes you to a lovely place within yourself er yeah [pause] (006). This notion of being present and fleeting presence allows her to be authentic, it also facilitates flow, allowing interest in herself and the environment this is synonymous with Erskine’s relational need of involvement. In contrast to where Jane describes being mindful as a child ….. I used to worry a lot and I think that is being very mindful, as a child I’d worry if […..] about this, about that you know torment myself really if I thought I hadn’t done that right or that right . This doesn’t correlate with  description of mindfulness and it relates to the adapted child, I remember that at this point of the interview of feeling privileged that Jane felt safe and assured to share with another something personal about their inner world as a young child. It resonated to me the significance of Erskine’s relational needs.
Authenticity and Acceptance
Jane’s ulterior meaning at  is asking who am I and for a moment is taken off in her thoughts forgetting the question. I recall at the time Jane for a brief moment appearing lost in thought and experienced a rubberband moment as she was been sent back to the past where Jane has experience . Later Jane talks about where she realised that there is no point in worrying …. you just start to resolve you’re own stuff don’t you…. just do the i that you can with what you’ve got at that moment in time . There is an element of self acceptance. At  there is a real sense of Jane expressing her self acceptance where she says ….I think being yourself, not what other people want you to be you know just try to be who you are…. . Jane’s attitude of acceptance has promoted her self-acceptance. Being true to yourself is the essence of transactional analysis what Jane is saying here that she OK in the world and also refers to the impact of not being yourself …..whilst you’re busy being somebody else you’re missing the part of why you’ve been given this life .
An element which Jane expressed several times was the notion of being everything can be spinning but you are the centre of that thing it’s like being the hub when and all the emotions and everything go round the circumference of the wheel, like if you can be still through watching everything 
The notion of life and its importance has emerged through the narrative Jane expresses that Everyday is precious , this statement relates to janes life experience which she refers to in  where she describes her experience with cancer and members of her family…..taking a breath in or a breath out you know, you can breath out and sigh something away  and in  she refers to that time when she was doing physical things to improve her health and also …a lot of emotional stuff. I cleared my mind, clearing, er, it was good because sometimes you need something to pull you up in life to make you appreciate, you know the moment that you’re living in it can’t be all a bed of roses Life it has to be . This evokes that through her illness she encountered a healing process. She also talks about the feeling of being energised . Jane’s narrative of his refers to Berne’s concept of physis.
Space in self and between others
With the interview Jane refers to the term space in what mindfulness practice provides. I think its being comfortable in your own mind space er just being in the moment, watching, observing yourself, not being attached to yourself, that you’re observing every second but just step back and observe and watching going beyond thought, you know that in a still moment you can just drift…. (006). This concept of space and observing provides Jane with the ability perspective taking not attaching herself to the thoughts. This element refers to integration of the self in that it is fostering of self awareness, which leads to full relational contact and self-exploration. Where Jane expands on the discussion around space …You know kind of especially when you’re working with people and er your know you don’t want to invade someone else’s space and I think that’s because I’m very aware of not wanting others to invade my space and that goes back to childhood really, you being quite introvert as a child; happy but you know would much rather sit and listen then talk.[CO-R laughs] . I surmise there is an ulterior message where Jane refers to invading of space, which I interpret as being close, in contact and intimacy and the parental messages Jane received She also expresses self assurance and self awareness and awareness of others …when your comfortable in you’re own space you do pick up er things that might shock other people you know… 
There are some large sections that Jane refers to compassion and kindness. This theme conveys she is able to let go of worry and avoid getting into the worry cycle giving herself permissions, positive strokes and Okness. Facilitating the ability to be in adult.
Well say just you’ve made er a mistake and er you’re going to beat yourself up for that mistake you know for days, weeks on end and I feel you know being compassionate towards yourself you can let that thing go, you’ve recognised it, your going to do better next time should er same exercise come up and whilst you’re busy worrying about things and your ego taken over and you’re giving yourself all this attention you could quite easily you know, think you could quite easily say I’ll put this away, I’ll put this in a box or I’ll put it on a shelf until another time and then I’ll review it again or you might just let it go because there are so many other things you could be doing with your time, you know your thoughts (014)
Jane refers to several times as being your own friend ….sometimes making a friend of yourself you can actively give yourself the best advice you know don’t bother asking yourself because no one knows you better than yourself . This is aspect of Jane befriending herself exemplifies the meeting the relational needs of valuing, accepting.
It is interesting in a significant amount of the narrative that Jane adopts the second person using you, you’ve and you’re which can refers to the person being spoken to or it could be inferred Jane distancing herself from the narrative. Jane appears to be expressing the different ego states and how she moves between them when she says …when you’re making a decision about something and you’re in, caught up in dualism and your heads telling you one thing you heart is telling you another and I think to imagine that you’ve got your best friend in front of you and they are asking you this question and you want to give them you know full and truthful honest opinion and so sometimes making a friend of yourself you can actively give yourself the best advice you know don’t bother asking yourself because no one knows you better than yourself you know so yeah and being kind to yourself you know… (010).
The adult ego state appears to strengthen in Jane’s decision making and her ability to give herself compassion and an inference of being authentic and trusting herself in her decision making . In contrast towards the end this seems a contradiction when she refers to I mean I’m one of these people that I can run myself ragged and er I’m loving it you know….(010) yet this could be interpreted to the adult ego state of doing (problem solving) and being. However later in the interview Jane talks about self compassion … You can’t be compassionate towards another person until you understand compassion yourself and I believe as a child I was very, very introvert and I think being very introverted it taught me a lot about being compassionate towards others. This narrative implies that through the practice of mindfulness Jane has accepted herself in  she refers to .. being comfortable in your own mind.
With the narrative there is a clear sense of joy which was through Jane’s enthusiasm in discussing her experience and can be eluded to in sections ,,116],
The practice of mindfulness for Jane has been beneficial this is evident in the narrative and she refers to contentment which is synonymous with Berne(1964) view of the attainment of autonomy.…this practice of observation over many years has lead me to a place of contentment .
Jane alludes to being fearful within the narrative in relation to her worrying in the early part of her life  and in contrast to where she explains about her illness she expresses no fear  and later at  refers to having choices, having free will which conveys her autonomy.
The findings of this research support the previous studies on mindfulness. Jane’s experiences concur with the literature relating to mindfulness. The practice of mindfulness has had positive impact on Jane’s life in that she has been able to cope with a serious health issue, from what she disclosed the practice kept her grounded and gave her a sense of autonomy in how to approach it.
Her account of a child of worrying and how this has changed through the practice of mindfulness in that is has enabled emotional healing. Jane talks about being detached, observing, this is one of the core elements of mindfulness practice whereby through the observation of the experience as Zvelc; Cernetic and Kosak, (2011) point out the individual is able to observe their critical thoughts, physical sensations behaviours and emotions and not avoiding them. This aspect provides perspective taking and within that safety to know that you are on observer and don’t have to be drawn in to the negative cycle of thoughts which Jane alludes to when she was ill.
Jane’s narrative on being present and accepting herself  which resonated with the literature particularly that of Kabat Zinn (2003) and Cernetic (2011) where self acceptance is about ‘paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally to the unfolding of experience moment to moment’ (Kabat Zinn, 2003p. 145; Cernetic, 2011).
Something that I didn’t expect was the aspect of the use of mantra’s and their influence upon Jane, she describes the mantra as a different tool if her mind …was full of chitter or full of stuff . It was something I didn’t consider. Interestingly mantra’s were not identified in the literature. This may be due to nature of the search as I conducted and the specific articles I was looking for around the subject matter. What was mentioned was Buddhism and this is an element Jane refers to and in retrospect this is an aspect that I could have been expanded upon within the interview.
The other element I wasn’t expecting in terms of Jane placing much emphasis was on ‘space’. I am aware of the concept within mindfulness of creating a space in between thoughts, though I felt that was an ulterior message of parameters of closeness and comfortableness for Jane rather than invading someone else space and she makes reference to her childhood. I didn’t pursue this as I was aware of the nature of the boundaries within this work and not moving into a therapy role. The other element was the frequent use of the second person particularly the words ‘you know’ it can have two meanings, which I have previously highlighted. I perceive that Jane was keeping a distance from the content to keep herself safe.
The importance of the breath was expanded upon during the interview, mindful breathing was referred to in some of literature this is another aspect I could have looked at further as it links to yoga practice. On reflection I was focused on the parameters and the areas of inquiry which I wished to explore with Jane in the time frame of the interview. On review the narrative I realised that at a particular point I may have created a bias where I said ‘wow’  as this was not a neutral response. (Bowling, 1997). What was of significance to me was through Jane’s narrative she had experienced much healing through undertaking mindfulness meditation this supports Zvelc; Cernetic and Kosak, (2011) who refer to meditation enabling a healing experience. Furthermore the studies which refer to changes within the brain of those who meditated regularly, increased there ability to self regulate their emotions. This is support by Siegal (2007) and Fox et al: (2014).
The groups the data under the different headings make up the main elements of Jane’s narrative. I feel when I review Jane’s narrative that there has been a significant amount of sadness and challenges in her life through the process of practicing mindfulness this has gone some way to enabling her to heal both psychologically and physically and resonates with the work of Bessel Van der Kolk (2015).
Jane felt a sense of empowerment in undertaking the interview which she refers to in  however the transaction has been removed from the transcription following review of the transcript by Jane. There are other sections which Jane wished to be removed from transcript. Overall this does not detract from the content and as a co-researcher Jane has the right to remove any sections and this is in accordance with ethical processes.
When Jane refers to making a friend with herself this embodies self compassion/kindness and a respect for self which is the essence of mindfulness and psychotherapy. It brings to mind a buddhist quote “ when watching after yourself , you watch after others. When watching after others, you watch after yourself.” The Buddha
I acknowledge that I created a bias at one point where I said ‘wow’ . Bowling (1997) states that interviewers must be neutral in their responses and must never appear surprising or disapproving.
Qualitative analysis provides a richer data in that the humanness is seen. Defining the subjective experience and applying academic rigour can appear an oxymoron. Yet as Finlay and Evans (2009) point out it is a voyage of discovery. The literature I have presented in the review highlights the benefits of mindfulness psychologically and physiologically. From a quantitative perspective studies have criticised for various lacking scientific rigour. The notion of mindfulness is universal and found in almost all religious and spiritual and cultural traditions, is clearly has therapeutic effects of mindfulness this has been evident with the interview undertaken with Jane has conveyed her subjective experience of mindfulness and how this process has influenced her life positively and her experience resonates with the literature. Limitations with in the study refer to excluding certain aspects within the literature search for example mantras and their influence. In her narrative the injunction of ‘don’t be close’ where she spoke of ‘space’ and acknowledged that referred back to her childhood. I think that Jane has been on a healing journey for sometime and with the tool of mindfulness at her fingertips it has enabled healing. The data gleaned from the interview with Jane reaffirms the evidence from the literature of the valuable benefits mindfulness and the contribution to the healing process it can have upon the individual and to psychotherapy practice both for the client and the practitioner. The area within the psychotherapy, specifically transactional analysis needs further phenomenological research so that as practitioners we are more informed and a better understanding of how and when to apply the techniques.
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